UPPER CANADIAN REBELLION, 1837–38 217
day to day, but it appears from an official letter from the United States Marshal for the Northern District of New York to President Van Buren, dated December 28th, that at that time the army was about 1,000 strong and well supplied with arms and provisions. Toward the end supplies ran very low, and the remnant of the army was threatened with starvation. So ended what has been called the "farce of Navy Island."
About the same time another group of sympathizers, under General Thomas J. Sutherland, made a joint movement from Detroit and Cleveland on Bois Blanc Island, in the Detroit river, with the object of attacking Amherstburg and marching inland to London, where they hoped to be received with open arms. The enterprise had been heralded by a Proclamation to the citizens of the new Republic of Canada. The Commercial Advertiser of New York did not seem to entertain quite as high an opinion as some of its Michigan contemporaries of the raiders and their raid. "The whole," it said, "forms about as magnificent a piece of vagabond impudence as ever fell within our observation."
Sutherland's invading force also was armed with guns, muskets, and ammunition taken from the public arsenals of the United States. Sutherland had secured a schooner named the Anne, two steamboats, and a number of scows to transport his men, munitions, and supplies to Bois Blanc Island. With these he made a reconnaissance on January 8th, but did not remain any length of time on the island. The same night Colonel Prince, with 250 volunteers, crossed over from Amherstburg to the island and took possession, but, as the town was threatened, this force was almost immediately withdrawn for its defence. A number of the brigands therefore landed on the island and went in search of loot, but secured only the wearing apparel of Captain Hackett (the lighthouse-keeper) and of Mrs. Hackett, and a valuable gold ring.
The following day the Anne cruised up and down the river, firing grape and canister into Amherstburg, but